Taking it easy

I’ve got a bad habit. Well, maybe a few. The one that’s recently been on my mind is my tendency to go all or nothing, especially when cooking. I either make far too much food for one sitting, yet not enough for two, or I don’t make enough food, more or less forcing us to supplement. Usually, that takes the form of some off-plan snack or other.

It’s not just about cooking, either. It’s about buying. I try to buy what’s in-season local and cheap, but I’ll admit to being overcome by freshness on occasion, even if it comes from away. This is doubly true after the seemingly endless food desert that is wintertime. One grows tired of cabbage and root veggies to the point where the scent of anything ripe and green (particularly paired with the promise of spring in the air) is a powerful intoxicant – impossible to resist.

At times like this, I’ve been known to over-buy. And because it’s fresh, it’s best used as soon as possible. So, I shove everything into one or two dishes, stuffing us to the gills Monday thru Wednesday, and leaving nothing for the latter half of the week.

Then there’s the way we eat. Even now, nearly six months on, I struggle to understand how much food ought to make the daily meal. We should feel sated without being stuffed, and that satiety should last as long as possible. Part of the issue here is having to judge how much the Fella will want to eat. It’s tricky at the best of times knowing how much I will want, let alone a whole other human individual.

The solution I’m working on is to share the love; spread out these bounties by incorporating pantry goods. A big help in this regard is my wonderful refrigerator with the functional crisper drawer. Just the other day, we ate the second half of a bunch of collards that were an entire week old – no yellowing, no wilting, as crisp and fresh as the day they came home. Same with a bunch of celery that wasn’t the least bit floppy. I predict that this will salve the urge to eat everything right now, but not without effort.

I must continue to remind myself of these new truths. That we have the means to survive, even if I make occasional mistakes. That good food will last, so I don’t need to feel pressured to use it all in one go. And that the only real failure is giving up in the face of adversity.

Weekday dalliances with ‘off-plan’ eating won’t undo what we’ve done. We went out for brunch with some friends, to a place that came with reasonably high recommendations. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t conform to my expectations for greatness. Part of this was because I opted for something vegetable-less at the last minute, but a greater part was that my palate just wasn’t into it. The seasonings were intense to the point of being over the top, especially the salt. Not only was I unable to finish my meal at the table, but the leftovers left me feeling ill. So much for a treat!

Optionally, we can just commit to being a bit hungry (probably a better solution), though neither of us really needs to lose much more weight.  The other day I was shocked to find another 5lbs had simply disappeared. Now, I’m hovering between ‘this is still fine’ and ‘this is unhealthy’. And it’s difficult since there’s only so much I can eat in one sitting, but by the same token I don’t want to open the eating window too wide. Ideally, what I can eat and my body weight should reach a level of homeostasis. I’d hate to risk any permanent damage from nutrient deficiency based on my own ignorance of how humans work. Yet I’m hesitant to consult a medical professional who’s likely to come down hard on the side of blood sugar and grazing and other conventional dietary wisdom.

Anyway, it’s something I think I’m getting a handle on: the balance. The balance between fed and starving. The balance between fresh and processed. The balance between where we’ve been and where we want to be.